Bright future for Forest Dunes


Sean Dudley

The Forest Dunes course in Michigan is looking at a brighter future following a change in ownership and the launching of plans to build a hotel onsite.

Trucking magnate Lew Thompson, who already has a stake in a partnership that owns and operates the Bridges Golf & Country Club in Montrose, Colorado, has bought the 7,141 yard course, which was designed by Tom Weiskopf’s firm.

And the new owner is wasting no time implementing plans to make Forest Dunes more hospitable and attractive to daily golfers, its current members, as well as potential members who might buy property there.

An architect has already designed a 22-room hotel with four luxury suites and building plans will be submitted in January to township and county authorities for approval. The building will be attached to the 23,000 sq ft clubhouse, itself designed to invoke the style of an Adirondack lodge.

“A lot of our members live out of state so when they come in they will have a nicer place to stay than a hotel room,” Thompson said. “From the research I've done, a lot of our golfers play there on their way north or on their way south to play somewhere else because we had no place to house them. We decided to build the hotel so they now will have a place to stay.”

The building site has been staked off and covered with straw to mitigate the ground freezing to give construction crews a fast start when the winter breaks. Thompson said he is planning to have the facility open by the end of June or early July.

Members of the Bridges club will have reciprocal privileges to stay and play at Forest Dunes. Thompson’s purchase includes seven model homes on the property, as well as the 27-acre Lake AuSable for fishing, canoeing, and beach activities.

The course is set within the 40,000-acre Huron National Forest where the design team found rolling, white inland sand dunes and extensive tracts of sand that were incorporated into the golf holes.